Dillian Whyte Now Fully Engaged In Promoting Title Shot With Fury
Dillian Whyte, now happy after some adjustments to his contract for his title shot against WBC/lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, finally broke his silence on Thursday, speaking at length with boxing media about he upcoming fight.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Whyte said. “We’ve worked hard. We fought tough fight after tough fight after tough fight and keep risking the position we was in. Even when we was mandatory the fight didn’t happen. We had to actually go through a legal process to get Tyson Fury to fight us after saying he would fight us when he beat (Deontay) Wilder and he become (WBC) champion (in the Wilder rematch). … We had to push the legal angle and we finally got him to fight me and here we are.”
Whyte, the WBC interim titlist and mandatory challenger, will square off with British countryman Fury on April 23 (ESPN PPV in the U.S., BT Sport Box Office in the U.K.) before an expected British record sell-out crowd of 94,000 at Wembley Stadium in London.
As big as the fight is, however, Whyte’s comments Thursday were his first publicly since Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions, Fury’s co-promoter with Top Rank, set the all-time purse bid record of $41,025,000 at a WBC purse bid on Jan. 28. He won the promotional rights to the bout by beating the second-highest purse bid ever of $32,222,222 submitted by Matchroom Boxing, Whyte’s longtime promoter.
Whyte has long been upset with the 80-20 spit of the purse bid in Fury’s favor and has been in arbitration with the WBC, which set the split at the behest of Team Fury. Whyte also refused to participate in the promotion and did not show up for the kickoff press conference, which Fury handled alone.
But Whyte, who turned 34 on Monday, was talkative and in good spirits for his appearance in front of the media during Thursday’s video conference, which came after his team and Warren worked out their issues with a contract amendment earlier in the week, according to a source with knowledge of the arrangement.
“We’re a few days out. I’ve had a good training camp,” said Whyte, who trained in Portugal. “We trained hard. We’re under no illusion what I’m up against. I’m up against a big guy and a hard fight and, obviously, he’s an undefeated champion. But I believe I will beat him. I’m confident in beating him, so it will be good to shut a few people up.”
Fury (30-0-1, 22 KOs), 34, and Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) have known each other for years and Whyte spent months training in Fury’s camp and sparring with him years ago. Since then, Fury went on to become champion and Whyte established himself as one of the top contenders and perhaps the best active heavyweight yet to get a title opportunity.
He’s the underdog against Fury, but that comes as no surprise and Whyte said it is of no concern.
“Listen, man, I’ve been counted out my whole life,” Whyte said. “I’m not one to speak much about my life story but I’ve been counted my whole life so this ain’t nothing new to me. I’ve been counted out by people close to me – family members, friends, teachers at school, neighbors – so to me some guy on the internet or some journalist talking smack about me, it doesn’t mean nothing to me. This is not new territory to me.”
As for why he refused to even acknowledge the fight until a short post on social media on Wednesday followed by his gab session with media on Thursday, Whyte said it was just business.
“This is a business,” he said. “It’s not the Tyson Fury show. Everyone’s saying, ‘Tyson Fury this, Tyson Fury, Tyson Fury.’ This is me and Tyson Fury. He fought Wilder and none of the fights were sold out. This is the Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte show. We’re both in the fight together so things need to be done correctly. I’m a warrior. I’m a survivor. We can dance together but it can’t be one-way traffic. There were things that needed sorting out and arranging and getting done, so that’s it.
“When these guys want to treat me like this is the Tyson Fury show they got to get certain things correct, so once things got corrected, I’m a professional at the end of the day and here I am. I’m here and I’m ready. Training is done. I’m in good shape and I’m ready to go.”
He did not go into detail about what was adjusted in his contract – although, according to a source with knowledge of the deal, he did not receive additional money – but said he is satisfied with the resolution.
“You make an agreement, you sign something to get the ball rolling but there’s still little underlying issues that need to get secured and need sorting out,” Whyte said. “And when people are trying to play games and mess around, then you have to control what you can control. And what I could control is my actions, not what Fury does, not BT (Sport), Frank (Warren), ESPN. I could control what I could and that’s what I did.”